Drive My Car - Review
I Let Something Genuine Slip By. 4.5 / 5
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi.
Yusuke Kafuku, a stage actor and director, still unable, after two years, to cope with the loss of his beloved wife, accepts to direct Uncle Vanja at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There he meets Misaki, an introverted young woman, appointed to drive his car. In between rides, secrets from the past and heartfelt confessions will be unveiled.
Such a strong way to end 2021, Drive My Car is a wonderfully reassuring film that over its three-hour runtime addresses grief in such a natural and therapeutic way.
After an extended prologue and one of the biggest flexes of 2021 dropping the main titles 45 minutes into the film, we meet Hidetoshi Nishijima who is coping with the complicated and sudden loss of his wife. When he is assigned Toko Miura as his driver and their relationship grows, they both begin to open up about their past, both in turn helping each other to make their peace.
Ryusuke Hamaguchi has created such an expressive and demanding piece that plays out like a mini-series hitting emotional hurdles rather than following a traditional structure. This multi-lingual film focuses heavily on connection and acceptance dwelling but also celebrating the past and what that means for the future.
Grief can be a very personal and individual experience but at its core, there is a shared element that we can all recognise and emphasise with - which is Drive My Car's biggest strength.